December isn’t usually the month people think of when they think about buying a home, but this year is different. The housing market is hot and buyers are still active – even as most Americans settle in for the holidays. For example, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, demand for loans to buy homes continues to rise. Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, says the gains have been widespread.
“The ongoing strength in the housing market has carried into December,” Kan said. “Applications to buy a home increased for the fourth time in five weeks, as both conventional and government segments of the market saw gains. Government purchase applications rose for the sixth straight week to the highest level since June – perhaps a sign that more first-time buyers are entering the market.” Overall, purchase-loan application demand is up 26 percent from the same week one year ago.
One reason for the strength is persistently low mortgage rates, and last week saw rates fall even further. In fact, average rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances set yet another record low. (source)